Maine Towns you Should Visit Before you Die

What’s up with the Vacationland idiom you see on Maine license plates? Maine is a place to stay and play, “the way life should be”. There’s a reason why Maine has received so much acclaim from the West Coast and internationally. Here are Maine destination you must visit in this lifetime, or before you die… your choice! Continue reading

Maine 4th of July Fireworks

fireworks_300There is no better place than the Maine coast to watch the fireworks on July 4th.
Here are 4 Reasons to enjoy Fourth of July Fireworks in Maine!

1st, you have beautiful Maine beaches on the Atlantic, watching fireworks sparkle and shimmer over the sea is the best …
2nd, Maine is rich with US history, ideal for celebrating our Independence Day. Maine became colonized in 1607, by Englishman George Popham in Fort St George. Agamenticus was the first US city to be chartered in 1641. This city later became known as York when Maine was annexed from Massachusetts in 1820.
OOB Pier3rd, Maine has more coastline than California and many towns that shoot off 4th of July fireworks over the ocean.
4th, Maine is vacationland – and fireworks are a great part of any holiday and vacation! Besides, Maine is the number 1 producer of lobster – and what goes better at a fourth of July BBQ than a seaside Maine clambake with lobster.

Schedule of July 4 fireworks on the Coast of Maine from the southern Maine Coast to Downeast….
York has fireworks at Short Sand Beach on July 4
York Harbor has fireworks on Harbor Beach July 5
Ogunquit has July 4 fireworks on Ogunquit Beach
Kennebunk Beach has fireworks that can be viewed from Kennebunkport as well on July 4 – launched from Gooch’s Beach at Narragansett Point
Old Orchard Beach has fireworks all summer every Thursday night, and July 4 fireworks, from the Old Orchard Beach Pier at 9:45
Portland has July 4 fireworks from Eastern Prom, accompanied by the Portland Symphony Orchestra – the Patriotic Pops are choreographed with the fireworks over Casco Bay
Harpswell – Bailey Island has fireworks on July 3 from Cooks Lobster House Point
Phippsburg has July 3 fireworks from Sebasco Harbor Resort
Bath Heritage Days include fireworks on the 4th of July on the waterfront
Boothbay Harbor Fireworks are July 4, which also includes a Boothbay BBQ and concert prior to the fireworks.
Wiscasset has fireworks July 4
Damariscotta has fireworks July 4 from Gay’s Point
Camden has a Festival of Independence with fireworks on July 4 plus a parade and family friendly activities for a three-day holiday
Searsport has July 4 fireworks, and row boat races during the day at Hamilton Wharf
Castine has  July 4 fireworks from the Town Docks, and a parade and concert on the Common
Isleboro has fireworks on July 5 at Grindle Ferry Dock
Deer Isle – Stonington celebrates July 4 with a parade, Color Guard, Stonington’s Six Road Race, and events on the Pier like the cutest crab contest prior to the fireworks at dusk
Bar Harbor July 4 fireworks, part of Bar Harbor’s 4th of July celebration, include a blueberry pancake breakfast, craft fair, parade at 10, lobster races, and a waterfront concert leading up to the fireworks – voted one of the country’s best small town July 4 celebrations
Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island has fireworks July 4 over the harbor
Jonesport has fireworks July 6 at Perio Point
Eastport, being so close to the Canadian border, starts celebrating Independence Day July 2 – the day after Canada Day with fireworks on July 4 on the waterfront

Boat tour to Goat Island LighthouseOther Maine Fireworks on the Lake on July 4th

Naples has July 4 fireworks over Long Lake inland Maine in the Lakes & Mountains region
Frye Island on Sebago Lake has fireworks from Long Beach marina on July 4
Rangeley has fireworks July 3 over Rangeley Lakes.

Enjoy these Maine 4th of July fireworks shows by boat or by car. For Maine lodging during July 4th weekend, be sure to reserve in advance for this peak July holiday weekend. For more Maine festivals and events, see our Maine Events Page

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Celebrate Summer Solstice on Cadillac Mountain

You don’t have to be spiritual, religious, or have any hippy dippy ideals to observe Summer Solstice. In fact, celebrating the Summer Solstice is a rather romantic notion – a celebration to welcome the summer season with your sweet heart, close friends or family. The best place to rejoice for the Summer Solstice in Maine is undoubtedly atop Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. If you’re thinking about doing something special for your partner, treating your loved on to a Summer Solstice getaway to Downeast Acadia is certainly a top romantic gesture.

Cadillac Mountain view

Ocean view from Cadillac Mountain summit

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Maine Coast Vacation Ideas

Maine BeachWhen people think of classic Maine vacations, they may think of lodging in a charming cabin rental for a white water rafting trip, staying at a ski resort in Western Maine carving powder, canoeing down the Allagash River and camping out in The County’s wilderness, getting away to a lakefront campground RV park, or enjoying the coast of Maine. Vacationing on Maine’ coast is the most popular attraction, especially during the summer. And really, there’s no truer beauty than summer’s warm touch on the Maine coast.

With more coastal length than even California, Maine’s coast has varied terrain, populous, and town culture. Maine’s three coastal regions, Southern, Midcoast and the Downeast provide geographical distinction as well as very unique personalities granted by the natural landscape and the people that call it home. Even when visiting the coast, you may note that each town along the coast, indicates a matchless culture and vacation amenities.

Southern Maine

Southern Maine, while encompassing a rather small area, is the most populated region in the state. From Kittery to Saco, the coast flourishes in the summertime when seasonal vacationers visit to enjoy (arguably) the best and longest stretch of sandy beaches on the coast. While every seaside town in Southern Maine floods with summer tourism, among the more popular destinations include (from south to north): York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Old Orchard Beach.

Portland Casco Bay

Portland is among the most well known cities in the entire United States, even some would claim the port city to be quite internationally recognized with its highly active harbor. Coastal access, islands smattering within Casco Bay, city attractions, historic intrigue, outdoor recreation all sum up to make Portland, Maine one fantastic place to visit and a fun place to stay. Freeport, abutting the northern shores of Casco Bay, is another popular vacation destination with its famed outlet store center including flagship store, LL Bean, and more natural terrain for enjoying the outdoors, like camping, hiking, biking, boating or kayaking to name a few.

Mid-Coast

From Brunswick to Searsport, Midcoast Maine tells a different story from the Southern Maine coast and Casco Bay region. Maine’s Midcoast offers the small town personalities that travelers find so endearing and a meandering coastal outline that offers among the most scenic boat tours. Many towns within Maine’s Midcoast are often found on top vacation towns or must visit small towns including Boothbay Harbor, Monhegan Island, Rockland and Camden. Truly, this is just a short list as any small town in the Mid Coast makes for a terrific vacation stay.

Down East

Down East Maine is well deserving of a vacation getaway as it is fabled for it’s Mount Desert Island domain. Many vacationers travel a long way to be humbled by the mountainous terrain abreast the Atlantic Ocean. Bar Harbor, Mt Desert Island’s largest town is one of the most highly visited towns in Maine offering whale watching tours, lighthouse tours, nearby scenic airplane tours, chic boutique shops, great dining scenes, and many choose to lodge in Bar Harbor with its vicinity near Acadia National Park.

So there you have it–don’t you want to vacation on Maine’s coast? Too many places to choose from, which is why many travelers choose to tour the coast, stopping at one town each night and moving on to the next once you’ve experienced the local attractions.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Old Orchard Beach Campgrounds

Old Orchard Beach, also known as OOB, is one of the more popular areas for camping in the state. Few Mainers consider this “real” camping, claiming that real camping is getting away from it all in the deep woods, fishing in a river or taking a snowmobile trip in Greenville. However, kids and parents will love the convenience and fun of  camping in Southern Maine, especially at Old Orchard Beach Maine. Continue reading

Rachael Carson: Environmental Legacy

Rachel Carson Wildlife RefugeIf you haven’t read “Silent Spring”, you’ve likely discussed the book in school. Many say this book instigated the environmental movement and publicized awareness of the chemical impact on nature. What you may not have known is that  author Rachel Carson has very close connections to the state of Maine. Continue reading

Acadia National Park Camping

Acadia National Park oceanview

Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is among the most popular national parks in the US. Stretching across a large expanse of Mount Desert Island, here the mountains greet the sea with breathtaking coastal vistas, making the region arguably the most beautiful landscape to behold on the entire east coast. Since its discovery by Samuell de Champlain in 1604, the Acadia National Park estate has remained relatively unchanged and unspoiled. It’s no surprise then that Acadia National Park camping is quite popular in the region.

Consisting of more than 47,000 acres, Acadia National Park is a worthy retreat for camping and exploration. Here, visitors are likely to observe wildlife from deer, puffins, beavers to moose. The drive to your campsite will promise beautiful scenery and set the tempo for your camping trip. Continue reading

Maine’s Best Casinos and Gambling

Maine Casino

Oxford Casino

When you think of gambling or casinos, you picture the spectacle of casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. You don’t think Maine, after all its “Vacationland”. Well there are a few casinos, raceways, bingo games, slot machines, harness racing, and live poker in the Pine Tree State, and its far more beautiful and affordable than big gambling resorts and cities. Continue reading

Visiting Monhegan Island

To quote Rachel Field, “If once you have slept on an island. You’ll never quite be the same.”

monhegan-villageThat couldn’t be more true than in Maine…and Monhegan. You must visit Monhegan Island in Maine… maybe even sleep over in one of the Monhegan island inns or the Trailing Yew.

Mohegan is authentic, beautiful, rustic, the land time forgot. First stop off the ferry, pick up The Monhegan Island Association  trail map to guide you on a great walk around the island to the 1824 Monhegan Island Lighthouse, around the 17 miles of paths over rocky cliffs by cathedral pine trails, to the highest point of Black Head, which towers 160 feet above the sea with stunning views out to see and off the great granite cliffs on island.

Be warned of poison ivy onmonhegan-lighthouse Monhegan– a problem being managed by the association as they try to keep it  off the maintained pathways, but wander off the trails at your own risk and watch out for steep cliffs, and crashing waves on the oceanfront rocks that could sweep visitors out to sea with no guard rails, fences or warning signs. Monhegan is very natural and rugged.

Surprisingly Monhegan Island has cell phone reception, but monhegan-hikeyou come here to get away from technology. See the dramatic rugged cliffs of White Head and Black Head, and the shipwreck on the southern shores near Fish Beach and Swim Beach.

Bring your camera and wear sneakers or hiking shoes for the sometimes rugged rigorous hiking paths (all marked on the Monhegan trail map), nothing is paved, cars and bikes are not allowed on the passenger ferry.

monheganIn the village of Monhegan by the ferry dock you will find a general store, some art galleries, and few lobster and clam shacks. Nothing fancy. The Monhegan House, The Hitchcock House, and The Island Inn offer lodging, and there are a few cottage and house rentals.

Monhegan is easily reached by ferry, just an hour ride aboard Hardy Boats from New Harbor, or from Boothbay Harbor or Port Clyde, and a priceless trip to a simpler time as an islander. Just 10 miles offshore on this mountainous island about 70 residents exists peacefully and productively within a square mile of spectacularly scenic terrain.

monhegan-cliffsMonhegan was first settled by Native Americans for its prime fishing, which is Monhegan’s industry to this day (although lobster fishing season is closed in summertime around Monhegan) along with accommodating summer overnight guests and day visitors off the ferries and Monhegan tour boats.

Enjoy your time on Monhegan  while in Vacationland. And be sure to explore other great seacoast towns in Maine’s midcoast and Bar Harbor too!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Top Things to Do In Castine

castine-harbor-viewCastine is a delightful seaside village perched on the tip of a peninsula in Penobscot Bay, mid-coast Maine. Castine is one of the oldest and wealthiest communities in Maine, with a deep history of battles and occupations since the 1600s. From Natives to the Dutch and French Noblemen Castine who gave the town its name in1796 to The British, and now college students at Castine’s Maine Maritime Academy – Castine’s story is rich and complex.

sail-castine-harbor (2)There is so much to see and do in Castine, from the busy waterfront to the fabulous seaside cottages and hillside campus, to beaches and beautiful natural walking paths and Dyce Head Light Castine is also home to beautiful inns and BnB’s, waterfront restaurants serving fresh Maine seafood, shops and art galleries.

Top Things to do in Castine Maine

dennetts-wharf-settingGo to Dennetts Wharf for lunch or dinner – ideally sit outside on the deck. Great seafood by the sea, a picture perfect setting with a casual but fresh menu. They boast the longest Oyster Bar in Maine, and a huge beer list. Pin a dollar on the wood beam sail loft rafters. Dollars accumulated have been donated to 911, Hurricane Katrina and to a local fireman in the past to the sum of $12k at each.

castine-town2Shop Castine’s Main Street  – Four Flags, Lucky Hill, art galleries, Dolphin Books, books stores and ice cream shops.

Stroll up the hill to Battle Ave to see over 100 historic markers, monuments and bunkers, this was a stronghold against the British during the 1700 and 1800s. Pick up a historical Castine walking map for reference as you tour the sights, Federal, Italianate and Victorian homes lining the grand elm tree lined streets of Castine.

Dine at Pentagoet Inn for the best food in Castine and friendly service steps from the waterfront. Stay at this charming 1894 BnB too. Pentagoet is the French word denoting the Penboscot.

red-bell3Walk the campus of Maine Maritime Academy founded in 1941. About 1,000 students attend the maritime and oceanographic college on a beautiful seaside campus in Castine. The waterfront campus is an impressive training vessel -The State of Maine – a 500-foot naval research ship on on the dock unless it’s out for a semester at sea with student aboard. Only strategic drawback to Maine Maritime is its 87% male… #maletime academy.

dyce-lighthouse-castine (7)Visit the grassy knolls of Castine’s Fort Madison, Fort Knox and Fort George, built during the nineteenth century to protect the harbor. Only the grass bunkers remain at Fort Madison, at the entrance to the harbor – its a scenic park for a pleasant picnic now. Fort George, built by the British in 1779, has been partially restored as a state memorial, marking the last fort surrendered by the British at the end of the Revolutionary War. Fort Knox, Maine’s largest historic fort, was built in 1884 to protect from potential British naval attack along the Penobscot River. Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved historic military forts in New England, The Fort is only open to visitors seasonally, but the grounds are open year-round.

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned, not open to the public. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property.

Castine Maine Lighthouse

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property

Witherle Woods is a spectacular 185-acre preserve on the Castine peninsula, with 4.2 miles of trails for hiking, walking or even enjoying a picnic lunch at Blockhouse Point with views of Penobscot Bay and Wadsworth Cove. Wear sneakers or hiking shoes for these great but rustic trails that bring you to old battle batteries and spectacular lookouts. There are more challenging hikes on nearby Blue Hill Mountain or further north – the famous Acadia National Park.

Castine’s best beaches are Wadsworth Cove and Backshore Beach, this protected cove offers smooth pebbly sand and a gentle surf. The western exposure provides great views of Penobscot, the Camden hills and is a perfect place to watch the sunset. Pack a cooler – no services here.

kayak-penobscott-bay (4)Kayaking in Castine is ideal on the Penobscot Bay and Bagaduce River.

History buffs will love Wilson Museum run by Castine’s Historical Society loaded with ancient farming equipment. Visit the pre-revolutionary John Perkins House, blacksmith shop and The Abbott School -a restored old school house. Castine Public Library is another beautiful building.

pond-islandTravelling by boat to Castine, arrive at 3 for a slot on the Town Docks, and go out to Pond Island for a picnic by day, bring your dinghy to explore this gem of an island surrounded by beaches, a tidal pond sits in the center with views of the Camden Hills and neighboring Hog Island.

See more on Castine, and places to stay in Castine during your tour of the Maine Coast.

By Heather Burke,  – Copyright & Photo 2018 by VisitMaine.net

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